Choose your weapon: Gladiatorial combat

You’re standing in line at airport security when suddenly you’re pulled out of the queue by a couple of large men, dragged into a private room nearby and told, “You’ve been randomly selected to participate in Roman Gladiatorial Combat.”

“I’m just flying to Tuscaloosa for a confere–” You’re cut off by a flash of blinding white light.

Next thing you know you’re in a large, dimly lit room, surrounded by walls of wood and stone, with a dirt floor and a bit of light from lit torches peppered on the walls around the room. The dull roar of thousands of people rumbles above you. The room is inhabited with dozens of other bewildered-looking people who appear to have found themselves here the same way you did. They are all dressed, unsurprisingly, as if they were about to board an airplane.

The two large men who yanked you out of line at the airport appear again and the room brightens up. In loud, booming voices, they tell you “All around you are armor and weapons. Choose your gear and walk through that gate to the arena. You have ten minutes to get ready.” They point, in tandem, toward a foreboding black iron gate, beyond which you see a long tunnel leading to a large, bright arena.

“What happens on the other side of that gate?” someone asks.

“Death,” one of large men coldly replies. The other provides minimal elaboration in the form of, “Kill everything. Survive. Go back to waiting in line.” Then the two of them disappear.

Anyways, you can safely assume you will be participating in mortal combat, possibly versus the people sharing the dark room with you right now, or possibly versus someone, or something, else… Last man (or woman) standing gets to go back to the airport. They’ll hold the plane for you if necessary, but your place in the security line has not been saved (d’oh!).

Your choices consist of basically any melee weapon that existed from the beginning of human time until January 1, 404 AD, reportedly the date of the last known gladiatorial fight in Rome.

What weapon(s) do you choose?

I’d take a small knife. If I turn out to have the balls I’ll stab myself in the heart with it rather than force some other poor sap to take my life. (The fact I’d be depriving enthusiastic participants the satisfaction of killing me and also depriving the sadists who set this up the spectacle of seeing me murdered would just be icing on the cake.)

What? Not everybody is willing to kill other people.

Despite my name, I’ll take a spear. The longer the better. Feint high, thrust low; feint low, thrust high. As for armor, I’ll take whatever covers the most of my body.

whoah! so if I get killed I *don’t *have to go back to waiting in line?

Decent armor and shield and one of these HAND PICKS. If you want, you can downgrade it to era appropriate materials but keep the size and shape about the same. I’d have to get in close to use it but it’s light and fast enough to swing with authority and the pick is more than capable of piercing armor.

Sounds like we get to settle this the old fashioned way. The first guy to die - loses.

The first guy to die wins as hard as the last guy to die.

Ah, but you might just be fighting animals. Boars, tigers, and the like.

For me, I’ll take the equipment of a secutos: shield, sword, helmet, and armor on one arm.

That’s how I usually dress for air travel anyway.

I’ll grab a sword and fall on it since my bad leg won’t let me do anything useful anyway.

Retiarius all the way. Bad knees would limit my mobility, so I might as well go for the flair.

How many quatloos are being wagered?

Net and knife. Wrist braces.

Doesn’t matter what I choose. Still better than waiting in line at the airport.

I’ll take a short spear. Stabbing, clubbing and throwing if necessary. We’ll get to see if those year throwing javelin pay off. Note i don’t actually want a javelin those things are so light all you get is stabbing and throwing and i want enough mass i can club people with the butt too.

I’ll go with the traditional gladius or similar short thick sword, small round shield, and left arm armor.

And a punch dagger if I get a secondary weapon.

I’m too far out of shape to use anything heavier without getting exhausted.

A short Godentag, Glaive, or Halberd, and a Bowie knife.

OK, this made me genuinely laugh out loud :slight_smile:

As for the question, I know nothing about ancient combat so I’ll just go with the above and hope its something like a really high-tech virtual reality and I’m not actually going to get killed if/when I inevitably screw up.

Not too keen on killing people either but if its the only way to survive, I’d defend myself if attacked but I’m not going to be hunting people down.

A good idea though would probably be to try and strike up some alliances in the short time you have before entering the arena.

Remember, it’s last person standing.
If i had two good legs still, I would put my cardiovascular to work staying the hell out of the way. I would only have the last other survivor to deal with and s/he’s likely to be bleeding and exhausted from swinging an unfamiliar weapon.

Which weapons I take depends upon the armour available. If full plate armour is available then it’s pointless to take anything other than a two-handed piercing or concussive weapon, because swords and spears and arrows of that era just won’t penetrate the armour. I’ll take a punching dagger as a side-arm.

However, full plate armour was not available in 414 AD. So, if armour is limited to that date, I’m going to take an oval shield, lorica hamata, helmet, a spear, a sword, and a dagger.

Sure, but you could both enter into the bargain knowing that, even if you have to turn on each other in the end its still better odds than just you versus everyone else. It could even be three or four of you with the same agreement.

And the way the OP is worded I suspect there might be more to this scenario than meets the eye.

If we win do we get to keep the weapons, armour and our unexpectedly awesome combat skills to beat our way to the front of the queue at the airport?

Going through the metal detector might prove problematic…